Marina Rodriguez

Brazil

Wins main event as underdog
StrawweightUFC
October 9, 2021
Rodriguez defeated Mackenzie Dern via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
This was arguably Rodriguez's most significant test to date in terms of a stylistic matchup, and she passed that test with flying colors. Rodriguez's stand-up looked excellent, as always, but her most impressive feat of the fight came in Round 2 when she managed to survive despite Dern being in a dominant position for virtually the entire frame. Rodriguez's cardio held up just fine, and she showed no ill effects over the course of the final 15 minutes. All told, Rodriguez outlanded Dern 148-80 while also fending off 7-of-8 takedown attempts. It would be nice if Rodriguez offered a bit more offensively on the mat, but her submission defense is even more important considering how effective she is on the feet. With victories over Dern, Michelle Waterson and Amanda Ribas in her past three fights, the 34-year-old Brazilian is closing in on a title shot at 115 pounds. She'll also walk away with a $50,000 bonus after this bout was awarded Fight of the Night honors.
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Expected to headline October event
StrawweightUFC
July 10, 2021
Rodriguez will headline an October event with a fight against Mackenzie Dern, according to a report from Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com.
ANALYSIS
It's worth noting that contracts have not been signed between both parties, but the 115-pound contest is close to being finalized and should be formally announced sooner than later. Rodriguez is coming off a five-round unanimous decision win over Michelle Waterson and has been on a tear in recent years and owns a 4-1-2 overall record in the UFC.
Decisions Waterson in main event
StrawweightUFC
May 8, 2021
Rodriguez defeated Michelle Waterson via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46) at UFC on ESPN 24 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
Rodriguez won't overwhelm her competition with athleticism or explosiveness, but she is a very technical striker with an intriguing frame. Of course, everyone looks big compared to Waterson, and the size differential was simply too much for Michelle to overcome. There are open concerns regarding how effective Rodriguez will be in something other than an extended kickboxing match, but her proficiency on the feet is not in question. A product of Dana White's Contender Series: Brazil, Rodriguez is 4-1-2 in her first seven UFC bouts, with the one defeat coming to Carla Esparza via split decision. Rodriguez turned 34 years of age last week, so the UFC might as well push her quickly in hopes of seeing what it truly has here.
Locked in for UFC Vegas 26
StrawweightUFC
May 4, 2021
Rodriguez has been confirmed for her headline matchup against Michelle Waterson at UFC Vegas 26 on Saturday.
ANALYSIS
This was suspected all along, but the UFC had yet to officially confirm the event until Tuesday due to logistical issues on Rodriguez's end. Those appear to have been resolved, and Aaron Bronsteter of TSN.ca has confirmed that it will be a five-round fight despite the short notice booking. Rodriguez checks in as a (-215) betting favorite for the matchup as of Tuesday afternoon.
Draws Waterson in main event
StrawweightUFC
May 3, 2021
Rodriguez will take on Michelle Waterson in a strawweight matchup in the main event of UFC Vegas 26 on Saturday, Gabriel Gonzalez of Cageside Press reports.
ANALYSIS
While the UFC's website still lists TBD vs. TBD as of Monday morning, several local and national news outlets appear to confirm the matchup of 115-pounders will take the spot of an originally scheduled bout between T.J. Dillashaw (forehead) and Corey Sandhagen. Rodriguez will enter this matchup with three-inches advantages in both height and reach. That should help her in the standup aspect, as she already has meaningful statistical edges in both striking volume and striking defense. Waterson does have better wrestling marks, however, which could be a concern for a fighter with just a 59 percent takedown defense. Nonetheless, Rodriguez sits as approximately a (-175) betting favorite as of the start of fight week.
Stuns Amanda Ribas on Fight Island
StrawweightUFC
January 23, 2021
Rodriguez defeated Amanda Ribas via TKO (punches) at 0:54 of Round 2 at UFC 257 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
ANALYSIS
The main knock on Rodriguez is that she's a one-dimensional striker. That may very well be true, but her technique on the feet is excellentt, her power is legitimate and that previously-mentioned power made short work of Ribas in Round 2. While the finish was amazing, Rodriguez clearly lost Round 1. She gave up a takedown 90 seconds into the fight and spent the entire rest of the frame plastered to the mat. It's difficult to believe the result would have been any different if Ribas was able to get top position once again, but it never materialized. This impressive performance aside, enough questions remain surrounding Rodriguez's all-around game to label it a stretch to consider herself a legitimate title challenger at this point. We need to see more. At the very least, she'll walk away with an extra $50,000 after getting awarded Performance of the Night honors.